Most frequently asked questions regarding credit cards that I receive are:  Should I use credit cards or cash?  Should I make minimum payments on my credit card balance?  The use of credit cards is a personal decision.  I would suggest that you examine your reason for wanting a credit card and make sure that you have the resources to cover the payments.  Paying the minimum balance on your credit cards could cost you more in interest and take many years to pay the balance in full.

Do I need a credit card to build credit? –  There is no yes or no answer for this one.  However, most experts assert that a good mix of credit helps increase your credit score.  For example, credit cards, auto loans, mortgage loans, signature loans (secured and unsecured) are all taken into consideration where your credit score is concerned.  If you must have one, I suggest applying for a secured visa (using your money as collateral).

Is the use of credit cards wise? – The key words here are using your credit card wisely.  I suggest only using a credit card if you have the discipline and cash to pay it off monthly.  Otherwise, you could find yourself in a world of trouble, with a huge amount debt.  It is very easy to swipe that card to pay for purchase after purchase and before you know it, you have charged up to your limit.  You control when it is used, how much money you charge on it and when the balance is paid in full.  Using a credit card without exercising sound discipline could become costly.  For example, you could purchase an item with your credit card, get paid and become tempted to use your available cash for other purchases instead of paying off that credit card.  Remember that interest will accrue when you carry an unpaid balance beyond 30 days of your statement date.

Help, I want to pay off my credit card, but the balance doesn’t seem to decrease –  The average household carries a minimum of $8k+ in credit card debt.  Paying at least ten dollars or more above your monthly payment could help decrease the amount of interest owed and the term associated with your credit card bill.  One more important tip with a runaway credit card balance; stop digging.  Continuing to use the card while you are attempting to pay it off will feel like you are digging a deeper hole and that could be, because you are.  You will find it difficult to dig your way out if you continue to charge.  Credit cards are not the problem, the authorized user of the card is the one in control.  My advice is to ensure that you have the discipline and the money to pay off credit card purchases within 30 days; otherwise, pay cash or use your debit card.

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